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Blog: Announcing The Artist, TRP's latest co-production


By: James Mackenzie-Blackman, Chief Executive & Executive Producer

May 2023

Our announcement today that TRP is co-producing, building and launching the international world premiere of The Artist is another moment in our continued journey of creative renewal. Personally, it’s a journey that every week feels both hugely exciting and yet deeply complex.

You can read more about the The Artist, and the extraordinary creative team who will bring the production to life here.

So, why The Artist and why TRP?

Firstly, of course, it’s all about the people who will come and see it. We have a very loyal audience for work that blurs the lines between dance and theatre, work that sets out to deliver a stunningly entertaining evening. I’m proud that TRP has collaborated with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Rambert, Hofesh Shechter and many producers of musical theatre consistently, for many years, and so we want to make something for them, here in Plymouth, that they can proudly call their own and hopefully watch on with pride for any future success that might follow.

Then secondly, when looking for the first major co-production for The Lyric it has been important that the work we choose, and the artists we collaborate with, indicates something about the future creative ambition for our organisation. Drew’s passion for telling this story, and his care and attention to his company, and his creative team, has been a joy to watch.

That future creative ambition is starting to evolve but is still in development. We will publish a creative strategy later this year after our organisation is in the right shape, with the right people in it. These people, alongside freelance artists and makers from across the region, will inform and influence how we explain where we are going, and how we are going to get there. Already, what we do know, is that our strategy will work within the context of our eight strands of creativity that we published earlier in the year.

It matters to me, and to Liz, and says something about the organisation we are evolving into, that the current TRP Productions out-in-the-world are our Barn Dance Tour, that will visit towns and villages across the region, and now a major production for The Lyric, in The Artist. These two projects are, in many ways, very different and that matters to TRP, and it matters to the two of us.

One will happen in village halls, the other on our biggest stage yet we will approach them with the same degree of care, skill and creativity that everyone can expect from us in the months and years ahead.

The next public-facing moment in our journey of creative renewal will be in announcing our new team of Associate Directors and Artists-for-Change. We have been overwhelmed by the response to those opportunities. Across all the roles we received over 150 applications and over the course of a number of weeks we have met 35 candidates. We have done this with as much care as we can and tried to deliver a recruitment process that leans-in to the collaborative organisation we want to be in the future.

The truth is, it’s been an agonisingly difficult process solely because everyone we have met has been so good. As we continue on this journey, we will try to create more employment opportunities to allow all the creativity we have encountered the space it deserves.

So, in the weeks ahead, we will announce who will lead TRP creatively. When we make that announcement, I know it will go further at helping to define the organisation we will be in the future.

I hope it feels less like a new chapter, and more like a new book.


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